Orwell Prize 2012 Longlists Announced

March 29, 2012

  • 18 books: from Tokyo to Glasgow, from cybercrime to the Saville Inquiry
  • 12 journalists: on the riots, the courts, the Westminster village
  • 18 bloggers: Rangers, Sluggers and benefit scroungers

The longlists for this year’s Orwell Prize, Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing, have been announced yesterday, Wednesday 28th March 2012.

Director of the Prize, Jean Seaton, said:

In these uneasy times the Orwell Prize just goes on growing – more books, journalism and blogs have been entered than ever before. It is testimony to the enduring appeal of Orwell’s clear-eyed radicalism.
The books range widely teasing out national and international political themes, and the blogs continue to evolve and increase in range. As for the press, despite challenges to its finances and its trustworthiness it has had an outstanding year. Some huge stories have promoted excellent writing, while journalists have also ploughed quieter furrows brilliantly.
In one respect there has been disappointment, and it is a familiar one: very few ethnic minority journalists entered or were entered for the prize. We hope to see this change in coming years but we are conscious that low entry numbers reflect low numbers in the industry itself. British journalism as a whole needs to become diverse.

Book Prize
A record 264 books were whittled down to 18 by this year’s judges, Miranda Carter (writer and winner of the Orwell Prize 2002 for Anthony Blunt: His Lives), Sameer Rahim (assistant books editor, Daily Telegraph) and Baroness Helena Kennedy QC (previously shortlisted for Just Law).

The longlisted books are:
Rodric Braithwaite Afgansty (Profile Books)
Sherard Cowper-Cowles Cables from Kabul: The Inside Story of the West’s Afghanistan Campaign (HarperPress)
Siddhartha Deb The Beautiful and the Damned: A portrait of the New India (Penguin)
Misha Glenny Dark Market: CyberThieves, CyberCops and You (Vintage)
Robin Harris The Conservatives: A History (Transworld Publishers)
Toby Harnden Dead Men Risen (Quercus)
Christopher Hitchens Arguably (Atlantic books)
Gavin Knight Hood Rat (Picador)
Anatol Lieven Pakistan: A hard country (Penguin)
Richard Lloyd Parry People Who Eat Darkness: The Fate of Lucie Blackman (Jonathan Cape)
Julia Lovell The Opium War (Pan Macmillan)
Caroline Moorehead A Train in Winter: A Story of Resistance, Friendship and Survival (Vintage)
Douglas Murray Bloody Sunday: Truths, Lies and The Saville Inquiry (Biteback publishing)
Sonia Purnell Just Boris: The Irresistible Rise of a Political Celebrity (Aurum Press)
Jeffrey Sachs The Price of Civilization (Vintage)
Lucy Siegle To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World (Fourth Estate)
Christopher Turner Adventures in the Orgasmatron: Wilhelm Reich and the Invention of Sex (Fourth Estate)
Conor Woodman Unfair Trade (Hutchinson)

Christopher Hitchens is longlisted for a second consecutive year after making it onto the 2011 shortlist with ‘Hitch-22’. Also longlisted for a second time is Anatol Lieven, who first appeared on the longlist in 1994.

Journalism Prize
This year’s longlist of 12 journalists has come from a record field of 140 journalists. This year’s judges are Brian Cathcart (journalist, winner of the Orwell Prize for Books 2000 for The Case of Stephen Lawrence, professor of journalism at Kingston University) and Ian Hargreaves (former editor of The Independent, former director of BBC News and Current Affairs, professor of digital economy at Cardiff University).

The longlisted journalists are:
Camilla Cavendish The Times
Edward Docx Prospect Magazine; The Guardian
Daniel Finkelstein The Times
Amelia Gentleman The Guardian
Simon Kuper Financial Times
Paul Lewis The Guardian; Twitter
Peter Oborne Daily Telegraph; The Spectator; Channel 4 Dispatches
Fintan O’Toole The Irish Times; openDemocracy
Steve Richards The Independent
David James Smith The Sunday Times
David Usborne The Independent
Zoe Williams The Guardian

Steve Richards and Fintan O’Toole both make it onto the Journalism longlist for a third time. Ten publications are represented.

Blog Prize
18 bloggers have been longlisted from a record 226 entries, by judges Suzanne Moore (journalist, The Guardian and the Mail on Sunday) and Hopi Sen (blogger, previously shortlisted and longlisted for the Orwell Prize).

The longlisted bloggers are:
Alex Massie Alex Massie (www.spectator.co.uk/alexmassie)
Anna Chen Madam Miaow Says (http://madammiaow.blogspot.com/)
Bagehot Bagehot’s Notebook (http://www.economist.com/blogs/bagehot)
Ms Baroque Baroque in Hackney (http://baroqueinhackney.com)
BendyGirl Benefit Scrounging Scum (http://benefitscroungingscum.blogspot.com/)
David Allen Green Jack of Kent (http://jackofkent.blogspot.com)
Gavin Kelly Economics and the reality of the ‘squeezed middle’ (http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/gavin-kelly)
John Rentoul Independent Blogs (http://blogs.independent.co.uk/author/johnrentoul/)
Lisa Ansell Lisa Ansell (lisaansell.posterous.com)
Pavel Konnolsky The Konnolsky Files (http://konnolsky.tumblr.com)
Polly Curtis Reality Check with Polly Curtis (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/reality-check-with-polly-curtis)
Mick Fealty Slugger O’Toole (sluggerotoole.com)
Raph Shirley Another stupid human (www.raphshirley.com/blog/)
Rangers Tax-Case Rangers Tax-Case (http://www.rangerstaxcase.com)
Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi (http://rebeccaomonira.wordpress.com)
Tim Marshall Foreign Matters (http://blogs.news.sky.com/foreignmatters)
Toby Young Telegraph Blogs (http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/author/tobyyoung/)
Wiggy Beneath the Wig (http://beneaththewig.com/)

Three of the shortlisted bloggers from the 2010 Blog Prize – Tim Marshall, David Allen Green and Anna Chen – appear on the 2012 longlist.

This year’s shortlists will be announced on the evening of 24th April at The Boardroom, University of Westminster. After the announcement the Orwell Prize is hosting a debate on corruption in sport.

The winners of the Orwell Prizes 2012 will be announced at an awards ceremony at Church House, London, on 23rd May 2012.

The Prizes are awarded to the work which comes closest to George Orwell’s ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’. Each winner receives £3000 and a plaque bearing Orwell’s quote.

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. The Orwell Prize is Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing. Every year, prizes are awarded to the work – for the book, for the journalism and for the blog – which comes closest to George Orwell’s ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’.
2. The Prize was founded by the late Professor Sir Bernard Crick in its present form in 1993, awarding its first prizes in 1994. The Media Standards Trust, Political Quarterly and Orwell Trust are partners in running the Prize, through the Council of the Orwell Prize. Richard Blair (Orwell’s son) is a sponsor, with support from A. M. Heath.

3. For further information please contact Katriona Lewis, at katriona.lewis@mediastandardstrust.org or 0207 229 5722.